Komsomolskaya (Sokolnicheskaya Line)

Nikolai Galkin/TASS
The original northern lobby of Komsomolskaya was a building faced with light marble and granite, with a central plafond by Vladimir Favorsky and the monumental Onward to New Victories! mural, which no one entering the station could miss. What meets the eye nowadays is an even grander edifice, designed by the great Alexey Shchusev. This was Shchusev's last project, for which the architect was awarded a Stalin Prize – posthumously. The lobbies of the first Metro stations were supposed to look like wondrous palaces, gateways to the nether lands. Komsomolskaya's role was even more important compared to the other stations, as it was the first Metro station that people arriving at three of Moscow's railway stations would enter. It had to look particularly impressive. It still does.

The architectural "thing" about Komsomolskaya are the balconies above the tracks around the underground lobby, with bridges and stairs in between. Those balconies were not a whim, but a necessity. The station was originally designed for huge passenger flows, so the balconies and additional stairs were meant as safe havens and escape routes to avoid stampede. The columns of the balconies are faced with prokhoro-balandin marble, while the pillars of the station are finished with golden-pink Crimean Chorgun marble. The golden Komsomol (Union of Communist Youth) emblems on the bronze caps are a reminder of the hard work of the Komsomol members who built this station. The majolica mural Metro Builders by Yevgeny Lansere, in the entrance area of the northern lobby, is also in their honour. This was the first artwork on a Metro wall but, as we will see, it was not nearly the last.